Over the years, history’s greatest painters, sculptors, and craftsman have toiled to create the iconic pieces of art we’ve all become familiar with. While many of those masterpieces remain safely tucked away in museums or private collections, others have not been so lucky. Here are stolen pieces of art that are still lost somewhere in the world today.
1.The Davidoff-Morini Stradivarius
For a musician, owning a Stradivarius violin is like getting your hands on the Holy Grail. According to reputation, no instrument compares to the rich quality of sound produced by a Stradivarius. They even boast the ability to withstand centuries of wear and tear if taken care of properly. With that being said, only around 650 original Stradivari have survived to the present day. As well as violins, the remaining instruments include cellos, violas, guitars, harps, and mandolins. The current whereabouts of the instruments range from private collections to the Library of Congress, Smithsonian, and the Stradivari Museum in Cremona, Italy.
In October 1995, a $3 million 1727 Stradivarius violin was stolen from renowned violinist Erica Morini’s New York apartment. Morini, who was 91 years old, died shortly after the robbery. The theft is still on the FBI’s Top Ten Art Crimes list and the instrument is still labeled unrecovered as of today.
2. “View Of The Sea At Scheveningen” By Vincent Van Gogh
On 7 December, 2002, at around 8:00 AM, two men climbed onto the roof of Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum and broke through into the building. The thieves only took two paintings—“View of the Sea at Scheveningen” and “Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen,” both painted between 1882 and 1884. This period represented the peak of Van Gogh’s artistic achievements and the paintings are estimated to have a combined value of $30 million.
According to the museum gallery page, “Van Gogh painted this picture on the spot, at Scheveningen, a beach resort near The Hague. He had to fight against the elements: the gusting wind and flying sand, which stuck to the wet paint. Most of this was later scraped off, but a few grains can still be found in some of the paint layers.” Two suspects were arrested in 2004 and later sentenced to up to four-and-a-half years, but the paintings have yet to be found. The museum currently offers a reward of €100,000 for information on their whereabouts.
3. Eight Imperial Fabergé Eggs
The Imperial Fabergé Egg collections of Alexander III and Nicholas II might actually have been more popular than the Czars themselves. Peter Carl Fabergé of the House of Fabergé created the jewel-encrusted egg masterpieces for the Russian royal family between 1885 and 1917.
The collection consists of 52 known Imperial eggs, complete with exquisite jewels, precious metal details, and complex cogs and gears for clockwork mechanisms. In 1918, the Bolsheviks pillaged the House of Fabergé and the Czar’s palace in St. Petersburg. The eggs were confiscated and shipped to the Kremlin. Some of the eggs were subsequently sold to private collectors, some were stolen, and some remained in museums around the world.
Currently, eight of the eggs are still missing since the Bolshevik plunder. Each egg is valued at over a million dollars and rumors of their location have spread all over Europe, South America, and the United States.
4.“Charing Cross Bridge, London” By Claude Monet
Famed impressionist Claude Monet depicted Charing Cross Bridge in London as part of a series painted between 1899 and 1904. The series depicts various versions of the bridge over different periods of day and night, allowing Monet to utilize his vast understanding of color pallets.
The 1901 Rotterdam painting simply titled “Charing Cross Bridge, London,” was part of the Kunsthal Museum theft in October 2012. One of the men convicted of the crime claimed that the Monet (along with the other stolen works) was burned in his mother’s stove to hide evidence of the theft from government officials. Although certain traces of pigments were indeed found in the stove, no solid evidence has been found proving his claim and the painting is still listed as missing.
5. "The Pigeon Aux Petits Pois" by Pablo Picasso
One of the strangest art thefts in history took place in Paris, France about May 20, 1911 7:00 masterpiece "The pigeon pea small" 2010, Pablo Picasso (Le pigeon aux petits pois) was one of five paintings estimated to a total value of approximately € 100 million, stolen from the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. One broken window and a broken padlock were found at the crime scene. The thief had the dexterity to quickly and thoroughly remove the paintings from their frames rather than use a knife to cut them out. security images revealed that the burglary was a work of a man rather than a team of robbers. A man said to be the lone thief was caught and sentenced in 2011, and later said he had panicked and threw paint in the trash shortly after stolen. Many people have expressed doubts about the story of the thief from today and the paint is still nowhere to be found.